Friday, March 29, 2013

Um... You Might Want to Rephrase That...

Every now and then, a song-poem becomes available that I really have to try and get, just because of the title. It could turn out to be a good or bad record (bad in this case largely meaning uninteresting), but sometimes the title itself is the show.

This moment I saw this title was one of those moments. I own a lot of religious song-poems, and have heard many more from others' collections. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more poorly considered title, though, then the one I'm offering up for this Good Friday. It just seems to me that there are certain turns of phrase that you might not want to connect with certain Holy names, images and things. And I'm guessing I'm not alone in saying that when it comes to Jesus, one phrase to avoid might be "Hanging Around". And yet, here we have it:

The song itself does not turn out to be a stellar one, but it is an interesting performance, in that the construction of the remarkably brief, even skimpy poetry of the lyric writer seems to have resulted in some rather complex arrangements by whoever set it to music. As a result the one-time-through-and-done process appears to have been a failure - the usually reliable Gene Marshall struggles through the performance, missing an entire word ("be") the first time he gets to the title phrase, and sounding over his head at a few other points, as well.

Actually, the most remarkable thing about this record may be the song on the b-side, "Watching Sally Grow". Seriously, you have to listen to this record, it's a chintzy attempt on the song-poet's part to glom onto Bobby Goldsboro's big hit, the sickly sweet "Watching Scotty Grow", written by Mac Davis. The lyric is constructed in much the same way, and covers much of the same ground. 

Actually, it's more obnoxious than that: it starts with the exact same phrase "there he/she sits with a pen", the opening verses end with "well it's not too bad, 'cause she's my girl" verses "but it ain't too bad, 'cause that's my boy", and the rest of the song also parallels those of the big hit record (although this set of words might be considered an improvement; we're not informed that "BLRFQ spells mom and dad") , both end with the same phrase, "Me and God are watching (Sally/Scotty) grow".

I can imagine a lot of hit songs inspiring rip off from the song-poem community, and even posted one where the "lyricist" lifted an entire verse from the song "Nobody's Child" for her own submission to a song-poem company, but "Watching Scotty Grow", with it ripe stench of tripe emanating from every moment, would not have struck me as one worth plagiarizing. Sheesh. 

It's also worth noting that most Preview song-poems have the same publishing information as the A-side of this record, Arthur Music, while this side boasts Liberty State Music, another oddity.

Just another weird corner of the weird, weird world of song-poems.


1 comment:

Stu Shea said...

This is, all in all, one of the worst Preview 2-siders I've heard.